Raptors frozen behind Lakers, Bucks on NBA title odds

The Toronto Raptors saw their bid to defend their NBA title get put on hold when the NBA suspended play over two weeks ago. With no end in sight to the league shutdown that has come in response to the widening COVID-19 pandemic, the Raptors sit frozen back as a +1600 wager on the NBA championship odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Raptors entered the shutdown riding a four-game straight-up win streak that left them sporting a 46-18 SU mark, the third best record in the NBA. And despite struggling to reward bettors during the 2-4-1 against-the-spread run they took into the shutdown, the Raptors have been one of the steadiest bets of the NBA season with a 35-28-1 ATS mark.

An unexpected benefit of the shutdown has been the chance for the Raptors to heal. The team has been plagued by injuries this season that have cost Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, Marc Gasol, Norman Powell, Serge Ibaka and Kyle Lowry time off the hardwood. The only Raptors player to see action in all 64 regular-season games has been Terence Davis.

However, even with a roster back at full health if and when the NBA finally returns to action, the Raptors face a huge challenge in their bid to claim a second straight championship. The Milwaukee Bucks have emerged as the class of the NBA this season while piling up a league-best 53-12 record that leaves them 6.5 games up on second-place Toronto in the Eastern Conference standings.

Milwaukee has been particularly dominant when facing Eastern Conference opponents, compiling a 34-5 SU record including a pair of decisive victories over the Raptors. But despite looking poised to make a long playoff run, the Bucks find themselves set as just +225 second favourites on the NBA championship odds at online betting sites, trailing the Los Angeles Lakers, who lead the way as +200 chalk.

With wins in 10 of 13 games, the Lakers entered the shutdown as the hottest team in the NBA, sporting a widening 5.5-game lead over the second-place Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference standings. However, with the Clippers showing signs of overcoming a bout of midseason inconsistency, they remain firmly in the hunt on the futures board where they sit at +300 on those NBA odds.

The Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets lead the best of the rest, just ahead of the Raptors at +1500, while the Denver Nuggets are off the pace at +2200, followed by the Philadelphia 76ers at +2500. The Miami Heat lag at +3300, and the Dallas Mavericks are back at +3500.

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